Exposure to urban and rural air pollution: DNA and protein adducts and effect of glutathione-S-transferase genotype on adduct levels

Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 1996;68(3):170-6. doi: 10.1007/BF00381627.


Ambient air in urban areas is polluted by agents suspected of causing cancer in humans. A number of epidemiological studies have revealed an increased cancer risk in urban communities, especially in lung cancer. The relative risk have been estimated to be in the order of 1.5. The objective of this study was to evaluate differences in genotoxic exposure through air pollution in urban and rural areas using DNA and protein adducts as biomarkers. Another objective was to investigate whether the GSTM1 genotype has any effect on adduct level. The analyses included 32P postlabelling of DNA adducts in lymphocytes, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for measuring benzo[a]pyrene protein adducts and polymerase chain reaction amplification of the GSTM1 genotype. The study was a cross-sectional study of non-smoking, healthy males from rural and urban Danish areas and from Athens, Greece. All individuals in the study were healthy, non-smoking males. The Danish urban group included 74 university students, the rural group 29 students from agricultural colleges and the Greek group 17 individuals. Adduct levels differed significantly in the three groups with median levels of 0.152 fmol/micrograms DNA (rural), 0.205 fmol/micrograms (urban) and 0.285 fmol/micrograms (Athens). The adduct patterns showed some identical spots, but also specific adducts. Here we report increasing DNA adduct levels comparing residents in rural, small urban and large urban residential areas; we found no influence of GSTM1 genotype on DNA or protein adduct levels in non-smokers exposed to low levels of air pollution.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Air Pollutants / analysis
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • DNA Adducts / analysis
  • DNA Adducts / drug effects*
  • Denmark
  • Environmental Monitoring* / methods
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Genotype
  • Glutathione Transferase / analysis
  • Glutathione Transferase / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Proteins / analysis
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Reference Values
  • Rural Population
  • Urban Population


  • Air Pollutants
  • DNA Adducts
  • Proteins
  • Glutathione Transferase